UH Hosts Sustainability, Arts Symposium

'Systems of Sustainability' Features Panels, Performances March 27-29

Creativity is one of society's most effective tools for addressing the massive challenges of the 21st century.  The University of Houston's Mitchell Center for the Arts and Blaffer Gallery have invited renowned artists, scholars, researchers and activists with groundbreaking approaches to problem-solving to participate in "Systems of Sustainability: Art, Innovation, Action" (S.O.S.) March 27-29.

S.O.S. is part arts festival, part symposium and explores creative enterprise as an integral tool for cultural growth and social change.  The Mitchell Center and Blaffer Gallery are working with Liz Lerman, MacArthur Fellowship recipient and founder of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and Robert Harriss, president and chief executive officer of Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) as close consultants on S.O.S. The result is an exciting collection of performances, panel discussions and presentations.

"We're thrilled to offer ‘S.O.S.' at such a critical moment when everyone is talking about sustainability," said Karen Farber, director of the Mitchell Center. "Our approach is to bring artists to the table to help teach us how to meet our biggest challenges in totally innovative ways."

A kick-off party featuring Los Angeles-based electronic musician and DJ Steve Nalepa will take place at 7 p.m., March 26 at the Mitchell Center.

Houston Mayor Bill White and UH President Renu Khator will deliver opening remarks at 6 p.m., March 27, immediately followed by an "animated keynote" address and performance by the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.

Registration is $10 for the entire weekend and free for students with UH ID. Most S.O.S. events will take place at the Mitchell Center Building (Entrance 16 off of Cullen Blvd.) in the UH Wortham Theatre. For a complete schedule and list of participants, visit www.soshouston.org.

 Highlights of S.O.S. include:

  • March 27 (8:45 a.m. - 5:45 p.m.) - "How to Build a Forest": This all-day performance and installation will take place in the lobby of UH's Wortham Theatre featuring the work of artists Lisa D'Amour, Katie Pearl and Kurt Mueller.
  • March 27 (2 p.m.) - GOOD Magazine video producer Lindsay Utz will screen videos of artists and projects that emphasize creative problem solving, proposing video as an important tool for social, political and environmental change.
  • March 28, 29 (3:30 - 5 p.m.) "Time Has Set the Table for Tea": Presented by the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, this community-focused tea will be conducted in Blaffer Gallery within the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) exhibition "Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry."
  • March 28 (7:30 p.m.) - "The Grand Respectacle": Co-presented with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP), this event celebrates the intersection of oil and the city of Houston and will feature the unveiling of a new project by the CLUI and design/build collective SIMPARCH, co-commissioned by the Mitchell Center and BBP.
  • March 29: (3:30 p.m.) "red, black and GREEN, a blues" will feature artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph delivering a presentation about his full-length multi-media performance centered on race and the environmental movement.